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Colorado Trail - Swan River

Average Rating:    (4.72 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 25

Pedal south up the bike path toward Breck, and head east across HWY 9 at the first street light intersection. (I think this is Tiger Run Road.) Now your pedaling past a golf course on the right, then entering the Swan River valley drainage. As you cruise along, look up to the North at the tree covered hills. You'll be flying back down these in a couple more hours. Now you have an easy 6 or 7 mile cruise up river until reaching the North Fork of the Swan River. Turn left here. If you pass by "Good Times, Snowmobiling tours" you're about 300 yards too far. Climb this gentle grade past the few camp areas sprinkled about. Keep going into the treeline. Keep eyes left until seeing a forest service marker for the Colorado Trail cutting back at a hard angle. Might as well settle into your granny gear because you now have about a 1000ft singletrack climb. All rideable. Out into the logging clearings near the top, you can see Keystone Resort's Outback chairlift up at the snowline sitting off across Keystone Gulch. Once at the top, you traverse around the north of those tree covered hills that earlier you had been looking up at from the dirt road, now far below. Keep left at the next two intersections (The signed West Ridge loop trail climbs up, then descends back into the Keystone Gulch. Fun, but not as fun as what you are going to do.) As soon as you pass the second intersection, hang on for some hell fast tight smooth singletrack. By the time you get to the single 200foot climb about 3/4 of the way down your braking fingers will be ready for a rest. Continue scaring yourself on some more awesome singletrack until coming out onto a doubletrack. (If your blown, keep heading south on the doubletrack, ford the swan river, hump out to the Tiger Run road, turn right, and straggle 3miles back out to HWY 9.) Or, don't wimp out, stay on the single track, cross the little creek, and motor up the other side for another 3+miles of great riding. The main trail is easily identified, although there are several side options. The final descent switches back and forth into the Tiger Run Resort mobile home park. Shamble back out to HWY 9, cross over to the paved bike path, see your vehicle at Gold Hill, and go straight for the cold beverages in the cooler. Rated as advanced for distance and climbing covered, otherwise intermediate ability terrain.
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Latitude
39.53264411091661
Longitude
-106.04724884033203
Trail Directions
Turn off I-70 at Frisco, head south on HWY 9 toward Breckinridge. Park on the right at the Gold Hill Trailhead, but you ain't ridin' there.
Trail Length
20 miles
Trail Level
Advanced
Trail Type
Singletrack & Fire Roads
City/County
Breck/Keystone
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (25 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
September 19, 2015

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Jayem ,  Downhiller

Summary:
Great ride, this was my 5th day of non-stop riding, so I was getting pretty winded, but the climbs up the road after Great Flume are pretty extreme. The grades will challenge even the best riders lungs and legs IMO. It's well worth it though and the views from the top are amazing. The ride down is a blast and goes through several different trail sections, with the middle part being a rough rocky technical descent where the rocks get bigger until you get spit back out on relatively smooth trail. Overall this is a great little loop, not a lot of miles, but a good amount of vertical in a short distance and nice downhill back.

Recommended Route:
Went up American Gulch Road to Great Flume, Georgia Pass Rd, Colorado Trail, Galena Gulch Rd/trail back.



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Review Date
October 16, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: JRose ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Don't need to say much about this trail besides the fact that it is amazing. If you are looking for a technical ride this is not it, but if you want to fly, then boy is this the place for you. The CO trail is in perfect condition and though accessing it requires some climbing, the reward is well well worth it! I think this is my favorite place that I have ridden so far in CO, even over Crested Butte. Call me crazy, but I grew up back east riding fast, up and down, flowy singletrack in the woods and I have found a home away from home on this trail. The last reviewer is right that the switchbacks can sneak up on you a bit, but that doesn't detract from the quality of this ride... just makes you pay attention.

Recommended Route:
I accessed the trail up Keystone Gulch Road from the town of Keystone. The fire road takes you up past the Outback lifts and then you ride a switchbacking fire road off to the right to join up with the CO trail at the top of a super smooth downhill. We just followed the trail all the way to route 9. Would have ridden another trail back to Keystone, but we were pinched for time so we hustled up and over Swn Mtn. road on the way back.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
There is a little loop trail that weaves through the Keystone golf course and eventually pops out right by the east edge of Dillon res. I don't know what the trail is called or if I could even find it again without my buddy who lives there, but it was sweet as well. Another fast one with some really really tight singletrack.



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Review Date
July 21, 2008

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: colomntbiker ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
I thoroughly enjoyed this trail. I did the route recommened by the review and was not disspointed. The first miles to get to the trail were just on paved then dirt roads. If you can have a buddy drop you off that will save you :30 of the ride and 500-600 ft of elevation gain.
Once you can find the trail head your good to go. At the camp site I went thru a brown metal gate then up the road just a bit and saw "the Colorado Trail" to my right, I was tempted to take this but I remembered it was a left that I needed to take. So when I turned around I saw the marker on the left side of the road and that's where you need to catch the trail. That first part is a killer with grades on the 12%-16% side There was even a 21% grade part. Hang in there it's steeper at the bottom than the top. After you reach the top (you'll know cause you can actually get out of your granny gear) it's a fun trip down some really nice single track, it opens up onto some meadows a few times, Just remember to keep to your left and you won't get lost.



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Review Date
July 9, 2007

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 2 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: ezweave ,  Downhiller

Summary:
This isn't a technical ride at all, you won't find anything difficult to handle. Good judgment is still required as you can find some little lips and bumps on the downhill: if you think it's ok to gap them, that's cool, but a few times the turns snuck up on me and I wasn't on the ground. Save for the last set of switchbacks, you can hit the others at speed, just plant your foot and slide it. Maybe one is harder than that (it had a ten inch roll off right where you should brake).

The climb and length is what got me... that and the heat and mosquitos. It's also never fun to have to chug up with ATVs, which you will encounter before you hit the singletrack. Definitely need your lungs for that climb. The times on this page vary, but the route we took is def at least 3 hours, 4 is probably more realistic (the route we took was 24.8 miles). We were out of it physically and had to stop a bit on the long climb, so I'm not sure what the ride time actually was.

A fun ride, more of an epic than a morning session. The suggested times in the guidebook seemed a bit optimistic (by maybe half an hour or an hour, even though we were slower than that). The downhills you can easily open up on, but they aren't as "flowy" as I like. At times I wanted my long travel DH bike, but the long approach would have made that impractical. There is nothing in this trail that requires that much travel, but stability is much better on them (and that's nice).

The berms and banked turns could be steeper and spread out better... but you will just be happy not to be climbing, at that point.

Recommended Route:
This trail comes up in the Falcon Guide for Colorado as "Wise Mountain and the Colorado Trail". This is how I found it. That route is actually 24.8 miles (according to the book). The suggested times vary from 2.5-3.5 hours.

If you park at the Gold Hill trailhead, you head south on the bike path towards Breckenridge. After that you go east on Tiger Run Road, you will ride this for about 9 miles... go past a golf course, onto dirt, past construction and an old mine, into National Forest and up some Jeep trail before you hit the Colorado Trail. The first climb is pretty easy, rolling type lower grade and fairly smooth. You get a nice little descent before the big climb. The main climb, up to 11400 is a bit grueling. Even locals we saw riding had removed their helmets and were just grinding it out. It goes for 5.5 miles like this: slow spinning, steep with some little rocks and roots... enough that you can't let your front wheel wander, without throwing you off.

After what seems like an eternity, you hit the big downhill. It's about 5 miles of downhill. None of it is technical, although the switchbacks in a few spots are a little tricky (kind of like Wild Thing at Keystone).

Then you get one final climb, that is more gradual and a last descent. The CT puts you into an RV resort and you have to ride the road out, but it's very short.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Keystone Resort is good...



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Review Date
July 21, 2005

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Endo King ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
This is an awsome trail. Good sustained climb up. Nothing over technical, just a good climb. And then a sweet a** downhill! Downhill was fast. We parked at the trail head (at North Fork of the Swan River). We rode it on a weekeday, so there was not alot of traffic on the trail. We did the trail as an out and back. More single track and less road.

Recommended Route:
Out and back if possible.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Peaks trail



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Reviews 1 - 5 (25 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5